Ancient Tyrins

Location: Town   

The Mycenaean Site of Ancient Tyrins close to Nafplion: The ancient city of Tiryns is located at a distance of 5 kilometers from Nafplion, in the Greek prefecture of Argolida. It used to be a very important town-state in the ancient times and was mentioned by Homer as a strong military power. Tyrins is mostly known for its mythology background, as it is said that Eurystheas, the uncle of Hercules who ordered him to practice the twelve labors, was the king of Tyrins.

According to mythology, the ancient Tiryns was founded by the Cyclops, some legendary giant men, who fortified the city with huge walls, known as Cyclopean walls. These walls were made of big blocks of limestone. The town was built on a 59 foot high ridge on the plain between Nafplion and Mycenae.

Archaeological evidence from the Bronze Age (2,500-2,000 BC) shows the presence of many houses constructed around a huge circular building atop the ridge, probably a citadel or the acropolis. The fortification wall surrounding the citadel was finished in 1300 BC, describing a perimeter of 2,300 feet in length and 26 feet wide. It is said that the original fortification was twice its remaining present height.

Within the Cyclopean walls, there was a palace decorated with wall-paintings, public spaces and well-devised tunnels. The palace was a prime example of ancient architecture with entrance gates, paved courts, vestibules and a bath. Considered to be the precursor to Greek temples, the megaron found within the palace was a rectangular hall fronted by an open, two-columned porch. It was used mainly for feasts, sacrifices, holding war councils and poetry recitals.

The earliest known inhabitants of Tyrins date from the Neolithic Age (5000 BC). However, the city reached the pinnacle of its glory in the late Mycenaean Age (1400-1200 BC). It started to decline after the nearby Argos town was developed. Finally, Tyrins was destroyed by Argos in 468 B.C. By the time the Greek traveler and geographer Pausanias reached Tiryns in 2 BC, it was already a ghost city.

This town was reinhabited in the Byzantine times and today a small village, named Tyrintha, lies close to these ancient remains which shroud an aura of mythology. In 1999, the archaeological site of Tyrins was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is highly visited today.

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